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First two innings set tone for Irish

SENECA – All that will be remembered from the Interstate Eight Conference softball series between Plano and Seneca softball in 2014 is that the Irish swept.

What may not stand the test of time is the fact that one game was extremely competitive, and the other was basically decided after two innings.

Seneca built a double-digit lead by the end of the second inning in Tuesday’s series finale and rolled to a 14-2, five-inning win. The day before, the Irish built an early 6-0 lead but barely held on to win, 7-6.

“Tonight’s message was don’t underestimate them. They’re gonna come ready to play,” Seneca coach Dan Stecken said. “[When] you get a big lead on a team early, you can breathe a little easier, so it’s good to see us kinda put it on them quick and get a big lead early.”

Lexi Trompeter’s two-run home run was the big blow during a three-run first inning for the Irish offense, although Becca Towne also had an RBI single. It was the first home run of the season for Trompeter, who said she has hit two in each of the last two seasons.

“Oh yeah, it was a pitch right down the middle. I couldn’t have asked for a better one, and I didn’t miss it,” Trompeter said. “[Power] is not the big part of my game, but I feel like I can get a hold of one every once in a while.”

The Irish’s first inning paled in comparison to their second, when they sent 13 batters to the plate, had six hits, walked twice and scored nine runs. Jenni Nugent singled and drove in two runs, while scoring twice during the inning. Paige Hacker delivered a two-run double. Sarah Radtke hit an RBI double, and Karlie Cade added a run-scoring single. Three Plano errors helped render the runs all unearned.

“We didn’t know anything about [Plano pitcher Shannon Tierney said],” Hacker said. “It was great to get off to that kind of start. We all settled in quick.”

Nugent’s three hits and three runs scored were both team highs for Seneca (11-6, 3-3). Hacker and Sam Tonidni each hit safely twice.

“It was good to see them hit the ball, too. They had a couple errors, but putting the ball in play hard is one of our keys,” Stecken said, “We got a young team, and if we get more girls besides our usual three or four hitting, that’s gonna bode well for us down the road.”

Plano (5-11, 1-5) scored once in the second inning and once, after leaving the bases loaded, in the fifth. Mikayla Schmidt doubled twice and scored the first of its runs.

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